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Can a Wife Force Her Husband to Move Out?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 15 Sep 2018 |
 
Divorce Separation Grounds Family Home

Q.

My daughter in law has decided she no longer wants to be married to my son (for no good reason other than she is fed up). They have 3 year old twins. He is a fantastic father and does not wish to leave his home (that he jointly owns) and boys. Has she the right to make him leave prior to any legal separation or divorce?

(J.S, 6 July 2009)

A.

I was saddened to read that your son is in this situation with his wife and two young children. As for the question of whether your daughter in law has the right to tell your son to leave – the answer in short is no. Your daughter in law would need to get a solicitor, and go to court to obtain an order to force your son from the family home.

Valid Grounds for Divorce

You have mentioned that your daughter in law is merely ‘fed up’. This is not a valid ground for divorce unless your son was willing to accept that the marriage had irretrievably broken down. There are five ways that this can be proven:

  • One spouse has committed adultery
  • One spouse has behaved unreasonably
  • One spouse has deserted the other for a minimum of two years
  • Both spouses consent to separation and have remained separated for at least two years
  • One spouse has decided to separate from the other spouse (without the other’s consent) for a minimum period of five years.
As your daughter in law may soon discover, it isn’t merely a matter of becoming fed up and deciding unilaterally to bring the marriage to an end.

Children and the Family Home

If your son decided that his marriage had become unbearable so that he chose to leave voluntarily, that would not have any effect on his ownership of the property – he would still be the joint owner.

In the event that your daughter in law does decide to pursue divorce proceedings, the court has wide ranging powers in relation to visitation rights and what happens to the family home. If the worst does come to the worst, your son has legal rights in relation to maintaining contact with his two children.

Marriage Help

It may be worth suggesting (obviously without wanting to look as though you’re interfering) that your son and his wife could try to address their problems, either by approaching Relate (www.relate.org.uk) or another marriage guidance service. Using this type of service is not a sign of weakness in a marriage, rather that the two people involved are adult enough to want to work together for the sake of their marriage and their children. If your daughter in law has left it until she is ‘fed up’ with the marriage before telling your son she feels this way, they may as a couple benefit from improving the way they communicate with one another.

I really hope that your son and daughter in law can address their issues without having to resort to separation or divorce.

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Hello. My wife and I have been married for 6 years with a 5 year old daughter.Over the last year things have broken down to the point that she is demanding I leave the house. We have been in a cycle where she wants me to leave, then wants to try again, then wants me to leave...The bad times are becoming more frequent and more vitriolic.The good times are generally started by a request for me to take us on holiday or pay for car repairs or buy new furniture.When we met we both owned our own homes but she was struggling to meet the mortgage payments. She sold her house, moved in with me, we married, had a child and moved to a different house with shared ownership.I then spent £45K putting an extension on the house only to be told just before it was finished that the relationship was over.You can imagine from this that i do have a suspicion that I have been used but I genuinely think this isn't the case.We have different approaches to life, my wife won't go into debt but would spend every penny she had whilst I am more conservative and want to plan for the future.We are older parents (mid 40s) and are likely to be supportingour daughter into retirement if she continues in education through to a degree. My wife has stated that she is depressed and that I am the main cause of it. She won't seek professional help as if I just go everything will be better!She wants me to move out immediately but to continue to pay all of the existing household expenses including food, utilities, clothing etc.Her constant threat is that if I don't do this she will make access to our daughter as difficult as possible and "ensure our daughter knows how bad a person I am". If I do move out I will be paying child maintenance, this is not an issue, and will likely continue to pay the mortgage.I am pretty much resigned to, in the short term at least, paying some of the household bills. Anyway, my questions are:- 1)Should I be transferring all the bills into her name then just paying her a set amount each month? 2)My wife has access to a credit card which i pay, should I cancel that? I am in contact with a solicitor but would like some advice to, if nothing else, cut don on the legal bills. Thank you
What do I do - 11-Sep-18 @ 6:48 AM
Hi, i Am polish married to a Nigerian for 8 years. I used to suspect every now and then that he married me for papers, but he always denies it. We have 3 yo son. My husband is a chronic womanizer and has loads of affairs, some here but most in Nigeria Which i was able to discover only by entering his phone and reading his converstaions. Now i want to divorce but he refused to move out of the house. I cant move out because the contract is with my name and is for 1 year and i dont have money for fine for breaking it and for new house deposit etc. What can i do? We live in Uk and i have No family here Except for my brother that lives with us and takes care of our son while we are at work
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Wend14 - 25-Aug-18 @ 6:47 AM
I am a mother of 2 young children. They are both extremely challenging with a degree of issues including autism. My husband, who is in a very high powered job and who works away a lot is basically unable to cope with them. In addition to this, the nature of his job has now made him become more and more controlling. When he is away from home family life is a lot easier. When he's here despite the fact he's hardly seen us, he's very moody and aggressive. Although he's never hit me the aggression and controlling are becoming worse and he can be very rough towards the children and imo frightening. He has also on occasion smacked them. I personally don't think his parenting is acceptable but tho I've said this I have always stopped short of reporting him. He regularly shouts and swears at me and around me and the children. He undermines me and on occasion when I try and speak to him makes out it's all me and in my head. I have asked him to speak to a GP, psychologist and also suggested marriage guidance but he didn't want to know. Life is hard dealing with 2 small children with issues. When he blows up at them and takes it out on me, which often happens,he forgets I too am living with it aswell as him and his moods and temper. I have tried for years to fix it but I really think we're at the end of the line. I really don't want to live the rest of my life like this.I have pretty much made up my mind we're over. He has admitted things arent good but seems to thinks its temporary and we'll 'get our lives back' at some stage. I just cant see a future and I have now also committed adultery. I alwats believed children were better in a 2 parent family but my children often shout at me the sane way he does and i see the negative impact its having. I really just want to move on with my children and be happy. We've spoke briefly in past....well I have...about separation but he didn't want to know and has said he's not leaving me and our children and if I want to go I can but I'm not taking the children either. I don't work and I'm primary carer! On account of my work status I really don't know what to do? Leave? Stay? Try and encourage him to go.....in addition I don't know my rights. We have a fairly large house with a large degree of equity and a mortgage with only a few years to run....but without a job and nowhere to go I don't even know where to start.....help!!
Sad mum - 20-Aug-18 @ 4:23 PM
AS - Your Question:
I am a 51 year old mum of three. My marriage is having difficulties as my husband for the last five years has in my opinion suffering from depression and behaves unreasonably and has anger management issues. He has had several major anger outbursts and the last two in front of my 11 yearold daughter who is now quite scared. The last one happened about a week ago and I packed my bag and have moved out. I told him to leave but he refuses. He now does nothing at home, doesn't cook for the kids, doesn't clean, doesn't spend any time with my young daughter. He just goes to work and comes home and sits in front of the tv or laptop. I'm worried my kids are not being looked after. I need to move back in and he needs to move out. Is there any way that I can make him? 15 years ago he had an affair but ended it as he didn't want to loose the kids and the depression and anger started as a result of that.

Our Response:
If you are married, you are entitled to move back into your family home. Your only option is to push him towards mediation (as a way of negotiating a separation) or court. You can only apply for an occupation order to the home if you are the victim of domestic violence. You may wish to seek legal advice in order to explore your options.
DivorceResource - 16-Aug-18 @ 9:50 AM
I am a 51 year old mum of three.My marriage is having difficulties as my husband for the last five years has in my opinion suffering from depression and behaves unreasonably and has anger management issues.He has had several major anger outbursts and the last two in front of my 11 yearold daughter who is now quite scared.The last one happened about a week ago and I packed my bag and have moved out.I told him to leave but he refuses.He now does nothing at home, doesn't cook for the kids, doesn't clean, doesn't spend any time with my young daughter.He just goes to work and comes home and sits in front of the tv or laptop.I'm worried my kids are not being looked after.I need to move back in and he needs to move out.Is there any way that I can make him?15 years ago he had an affair but ended it as he didn't want to loose the kids and the depression and anger started as a result of that.
AS - 15-Aug-18 @ 11:19 AM
Dave- Your Question:
My wife and I haven't been getting on recently and she decided to go to see a friend in Wales for a couple of days. Then she sent me a message that she was seeing her parents for a couple of days. 3 weeks later she has told me to move out. We have been together for 17 1/2 years and married for 13 years. The house is in her name as are the bill's. In the last 5 years she has been diagnosed with autism. However for a long time she was very depressed. I had to give my job to take care of her. I am now on benefits as a carer. I get carers allowance but all of my income support goes to her. Has she the right to evict me, and do I have any rights.

Our Response:
Even if you are not married, but you are not a legal owner of the home i.e. your name is not on the title deeds, you can register your right to possession of the property and your interest in it by entering a Home Rights Notice at the Land Registry. The link here, should also help answer your question. Due to the length of your marriage you will have rights. If you cannot agree a fair split of the property between you (you may wish to seek professional legal advice in order to establish what this would be), then the matter would have to be referred to court and the basis of the split would be determined by each person's needs. However, if the matter goes to court it will cost. Therefore, it is better if you can negotiate between you or via mediation.
DivorceResource - 14-Aug-18 @ 11:52 AM
My wife and I haven't been getting on recently and she decided to go to see a friend in Wales for a couple of days. Then she sent me a message that she was seeing her parents for a couple of days. 3 weeks later she has told me to move out. We have been together for 17 1/2 years and married for 13 years.The house is in her name as are the bill's. In the last 5 years she has been diagnosed with autism.However for a long time she was very depressed. I had to give my job to take care of her. I am now on benefits as a carer. I get carers allowance but all of my income support goes to her. Has she the right to evict me, and do I have any rights.
Dave - 13-Aug-18 @ 2:42 PM
Pango- Your Question:
Hi lm 57 years old and l was living with my wife last 12 years since 2006. We had married on 2012 april she had divorce before and she has 2 kids both adult age of 21-25. She got her house from her divorce maintanance in 2003. After married,her kids discliked me as a step dad. To many traubles they have caused with police calls. This year my wife acted very odd and on 29 of march 2018 she and her doughter forced me to leave home out. Since we are living a part now. But last year before l concerned for my safety then gone to solicitor made a HR1 form to protect my home rights so far. Now she wants me to lift HR1 form from me badly. But l refused. If we go for devorce do l have financial rights on property?how much? House price was £200000 pound on 2007. Now £500000 pound cash no mortgage. Please please let me have bit idea Thank you for all who is going to help to my matter so far. Best Regards.

Our Response:
If the house is in your ex's name and was owned by her before your marriage it will be treated as a pre-marital asset. In most pre-marital asset cases (if the marriage is short), then the property would return to your ex. However, if you can prove you have contributed to the property in terms of refurbishment and/or financially (when you were living together), then you may have a case. The problem with taking any matter to court, is that the cost of court and legal representation can often outweigh any financial gain. If you can agree a financial split prior to court, this may be more cost-effective. You would be advised to seek independent legal advice regarding this matter in order to fully explore your options.
DivorceResource - 3-Aug-18 @ 10:30 AM
Hi lm 57 years old and l was living with my wife last 12 years since 2006. We had married on 2012 april she had divorce before and she has 2 kids both adult age of 21-25. She got her house from her divorce maintanance in 2003.After married,her kids discliked me as a step dad. To many traubles they have caused with police calls. This year my wife acted very odd and on 29 of march 2018 she and her doughter forced me to leave home out. Since we are living a part now. But last year before l concerned for my safety then gone to solicitor made a HR1 form to protect my home rights so far. Now she wants me to lift HR1 form from me badly. But l refused. If we go for devorce do l have financial rights on property?how much? House price was £200000 pound on 2007. Now £500000 pound cash no mortgage. Please please let me have bit idea Thank you for all who is going to help to my matter so far. Best Regards.
Pango - 2-Aug-18 @ 10:36 AM
Cdw - Your Question:
I have been with my wife for 11 years and married for the last 2. She told me this week she was leaving me but wouldnt let me have a divorce. As far as I know there has been no cheating involved but she is known by myself and even her family for thinking the grass is always greener. We have a young son and I have a teenage stepson. I pay for pretty much everything as she has spent the last couple of years at uni and still has another year to go. Where do I stand? Most importantly with my son but also financially as I am paying off debts that she got us before we were married “not paying council tax and not paying car insurance when she said she was” are just a couple of examples. If we remain married am I then liable for any other debts she gets? Any advice would be appreciated not just on the financial issues I am a bit lost at the moment and dont really have anyone I can turn to.

Our Response:
When you are in a marriage, income and finances are considered joint. The link here, should explain all you need to know.
DivorceResource - 6-Jul-18 @ 3:15 PM
I have been with my wife for 11 years and married for the last 2. She told me this week she was leaving me but wouldnt let me have a divorce. As far as i know there has been no cheating involved but she is known by myself and even her family for thinking the grass is always greener. We have a young son and i have a teenage stepson. I pay for pretty much everything as she has spent the last couple of years at uni and still has another year to go. Where do i stand? Most importantly with my son but also financially as i am paying off debts that she got us before we were married “not paying council tax and not paying car insurance when she said she was” are just a couple of examples. If we remain married am i then liable for any other debts she gets? Any advice would be appreciated not just on the financial issues i am a bit lost at the momentand dont really have anyone i can turn to.
Cdw - 4-Jul-18 @ 2:14 PM
mandy walker - Your Question:
My civil partner of 6 years is mentally damaged from childhood and this has ruined our partnership as she is so cold. I owned a large house before her and she only brought contents from her council house. she has 5 children only 1 of which is dependent financially. she works full time as I do. can I get her to leave and have a court treat my house as a non joint asset as she is financially independant and able to provide for her child?

Our Response:
The link here , will tell you all you need to know.
DivorceResource - 28-Jun-18 @ 10:40 AM
My civil partner of 6 years is mentally damaged from childhood and this has ruined our partnership as she is so cold. I owned a large house before her and she only brought contents from her council house. she has 5 children only 1 of which is dependent financially. she works full time as I do. can I get her to leave and have a court treat my house as a non joint asset as she is financially independant and able to provide for her child?
mandy - 27-Jun-18 @ 3:02 PM
@freedom2018 - she can't force you to sell unless you sign an agreement to do so. If she wanted to force it she would have to take it to court.
Bev - 8-Jun-18 @ 12:51 PM
my wife of 34 years walked out in March.unable to contact her due to court order.no children living at home.home mortgage free.can she force sale before divorce.she has not filed for a divorce yet.playing games.I don't want to get back with her.and our grown up children don't want to talk to her again because of her lies.please help.
freedom2018 - 7-Jun-18 @ 8:10 AM
In 2011 my wife wanted me out of the house ,of course I never wanted to leave because of my Children. My wife told me she will get me out one way or anotherand she did by having me falselyarrested for domestic violence which was never true. I was arrested one evening and charged with common assault. My wife did not turn up for court so all charges were dropped .case closed .since that time she has claimed .fraudulently. that she is a single parent so she has been in receipt ofbenifits all that time .she told me in 2011 that if I wanted to see my kids and move back in I will have to pay her £150 per week which I have done .my wife, I have found out is addicted to amphetamine as such the morgage is in arrears and I am afraid I am going to lose my and my children's home .everytime I say anything she doesn't like she threatens me with calling the police and say I have hit her ..I am truly scared and don't want to walk out on my kids.
Ash9 - 5-Jun-18 @ 5:45 PM
Radek - Your Question:
We went for holiday with my Polish wife to see her parents in Poland and to see my mom in Czech republic afterwards. All days in Poland spending with her and her family was fine until the last day when we should go to Czech visit my mom. She refused to go and we had a argument. Her family kicked me out of house and told me that she is never coming back to England. We are married and have 3 years old daughter which I can not visit. I has to go to see my mom on my own. During time spending with my mom my wife float to UK to our flat and take her stuff and all money which we had. After two weeks later of sorting things out with my wife I recieved paper from Poland about divorse. I'm in shock and see that all situation was planed. Don't know what to do.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. Unfortunately, your only recourse here is to seek legal advice about gaining contact to your child.
DivorceResource - 4-Jun-18 @ 12:12 PM
We went for holiday with my Polish wife to see her parents in Poland and to see my mom in Czech republic afterwards. All days in Poland spending with her and her family was fine untilthe last day when we should go to Czech visit my mom. She refused to go and we had a argument. Her family kicked me out of house and told me that she is never coming back to England. We are married and have 3 years old daughter which I can not visit. I has to go to see my mom on my own. During time spending with my mom my wife float to UK to our flat and take her stuff and all money which we had. After two weeks later of sorting things out with my wife I recieved paper from Poland about divorse. I'm in shock and see that all situation was planed. Don't know what to do.
Radek - 3-Jun-18 @ 6:20 PM
We went for holiday with my Polish wife to see her parents in Poland and to see my mom in Czech republic afterwards. All days in Poland spending with her and her family was fine untilthe last day when we should go to Czech visit my mom. She refused to go and we had a argument. Her family kicked me out of house and told me that she is never coming back to England. We are married and have 3 years old daughter. I has to go to see my mom on my own. During time spending with my mom my wife float to UK to our flat and take her stuff and all money which we had. After two weeks later of sorting things out with my wife I recieved paper from Poland about divorse. I'm in shock and see that all situation was planed. Don't know what to do.
Radek - 3-Jun-18 @ 6:18 PM
This has been a great experience for me, well i have a more practical and reasonable less stressfull and more practical way of keeping a healthy relationship, its Trust, once i hired an hacker internetwebport737 at gmail dot com, he accessed my wife's phone and extracted her emails, social media messages including, facebook and whatsapp messages, turned out she had been lying since lord knows when, internetwebport737 at gmail dot com even provided more evidence than i could handle, she denied it and now we are apart, i really miss her but it broke my heart to see her cheating in what i tried to make a strong relationship.
Albert B. - 27-May-18 @ 1:59 AM
Dazza - Your Question:
We live in a rented council house my wife has asked me to leave we are married but I cannot find anywhere that if I have a right to stay for now till I can afford to move out but I am not on the rent agreement and the council so do I have any rights to stay for longer

Our Response:
You can see more via the CAB link here, which should help answer your question.
DivorceResource - 21-May-18 @ 1:41 PM
We live in a rented council house my wife has asked me to leave we are married but I cannot find anywhere that if I have a right to stay for now till I can afford to move out but I am not on the rent agreement and the council so do I have any rights to stay for longer
Dazza - 20-May-18 @ 2:34 PM
Dode - Your Question:
I split up with my wife in 2010. She stayed in the family home with the children and I moved out. The house wasn't maintained by her and in 2015 we agreed that she would move in with her new partner and I could move back into the house with the children with the view to doing it up for sale for for which she verbally agreed to pay half towards the costs when the house was sold. The house was initially going to be put up for sale when our youngest turned 18 in April 2017 but we actually listed it about 10 months later for various reasons. We are currently trying to sort out the split of the house proceeds as and when it sells as that is the only joint asset. She is now refusing to pay anything towards the refurbishent costs which were substantial as the house was such a mess. Both the children are willing to be witnesses that she said she would pay half but she is still refusing. Any tips ? We have as decree nisi but not the absolute so I'm assuming a last resort would be to just stay in the house ?

Our Response:
If you can prove you put money into the house for refurbishment, you can push for the extra money via your solicitor (as this would stand up in court). However, if your ex refuses these demands, your only option would be to apply to court. Or, if you refuse to move (and create a stalemate position) then your ex too would have the option to apply to court. If it does go to court, it will cost you both financially. If you can both decide to agree between you or via mediation then this is by far your best option.
DivorceResource - 24-Apr-18 @ 11:59 AM
I split up with my wife in 2010. She stayed in the family home with the children and I moved out. The house wasn't maintained by her and in 2015 we agreed that she would move in with her new partner and I could move back into the house with the children with the view to doing it up for sale for for which she verbally agreed to pay half towards the costs when the house was sold. The house was initially going to be put up for sale when our youngest turned 18 in April 2017 but we actually listed it about 10 months later for various reasons. We are currently trying to sort out the split of the house proceeds as and when it sells as that is the only joint asset. She is now refusing to pay anything towards the refurbishent costs which were substantial as the house was such a mess. Both the children are willing to be witnesses that she said she would pay half but she is still refusing. Any tips ? We have as decree nisi but not the absolute so I'm assuming a last resort would be to just stay in the house ?
Dode - 23-Apr-18 @ 6:48 PM
Concerned retiree - Your Question:
My husband retired last year at 68. He has substantial pension provision which he has not touched which is worth 3 times the equity we hold in our home. We are relying on his state pension and our joint savings to live on. My only income is a small private pension worth only £20 per week. He is a deeply controlling man and has made it very difficult for me to work even though I had a good career when we met. We have been married for 36 years. He has often been very violent towards me in the past. We have no friends as it’s impossible with his volcanic temper. Even my family avoid us as his behaviour is so unpredictable.He has now said he has no intention of paying off the mortgage and wants to get a lifetime mortgage of £150,000. The equity is about £250,000. We have 5 children; 2 each from previous marriages in their 40’s and one in her 20’s who is a post grad student. My deep fear is that if I predecease him he will change our mirrored wills and leave out my children from my previous marriage or if he predeceases me I will have a large debt I have no means to pay off if he leaves his pensions to his children. I am not entitled to any state pension for another 3.5 years.Bombshell occurred last year. I thought our joint savings would be used to pay off the 5 year mortgage taken out when he was 65 but instead, in the presence of our IFA, he said he intended paying it into his wrap ISA pension. I was so shocked I froze the account the following day. I am constantly threatened to release these funds. Can I request maintenance from him if we divorce? I have enough savings to support myself for about 1 year but it seems unlikely I could get a job at my age. We live about an hour away from any sizeable town.

Our Response:
You will be entitled to an equal share of your joint assets, savings and your husband's pension provision. Please see link here and here. You have an equal say regarding whether you remortgage, and you are entitled to refuse. It's worth paying for legal advice in order to explore your options.
DivorceResource - 23-Apr-18 @ 2:08 PM
Abe001 - Your Question:
My wife moved out last summer after saying she didn't want to be with me anymore; turns out she was actually seeing someone from work.She is not named on the mortgage, never paid towards the mortgage and contributed very little to the upkeep of the home financially.She has now decided she cannot afford to stay in the flat she is renting; whilst still pursuing a relationship with her work colleague, so is threatening to move back into the house, unless I buy her out; can she do that?My Son from a previous marriage lives with me, but we have no children together.

Our Response:
Much depends upon how long you have been married and whether your house would be considered a pre-marital asset. If you have assets that you owned before the marriage, such as money or property that you have inherited, payouts from personal injury awards or other legal settlements, or gifts that you receive during the marriage that were not intended as ‘family’ gifts, these are considered non-marital assets. It means if your current marriage is short (up to five years), it is likely you will retain what was yours before the marriage and any assets accrued after the marriage will be divided. However, the longer the marriage, the more your ex will have a claim on these assets. You can of course refuse your ex to move back in. In which case, she would have to apply for court. The fact you have your son living with you and you have no children between you is more advantageous to you in this case. What you will have to establish via a solicitor is what rights she does have. For example, if you have been married for 20 years, then she will obviously have more of a claim on the home than if you had been married for only a few years.
DivorceResource - 23-Apr-18 @ 9:54 AM
My wife moved out last summer after saying she didn't want to be with me anymore; turns out she was actually seeing someone from work. She is not named on the mortgage, never paid towards the mortgage and contributed very little to the upkeep of the home financially. She has now decided she cannot afford to stay in the flat she is renting; whilst still pursuing a relationship with her work colleague, so is threatening to move back into the house, unless I buy her out; can she do that? My Son from a previous marriage lives with me, but we have no children together.
Abe001 - 22-Apr-18 @ 6:08 PM
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